Hi, everyone! I apologize for my lengthy absence. There's been so much going on and I hope to be able to update you on all of it, but for now, I just have some wonderful, pressing information to impart!
I have returned to school so as to better help everyone share their individual faith journeys. Tonight I went to a Sacred Reading Study at my University, and we looked at the book of Job.
Have you ever read it? It's completely fascinating. If you go to Job, chapter 2, it talks about how, when disaster struck his family and his property, he "rent" his robes. Well, first of all, that's a misprint because clearly he had to rent his robes, or clothing, because he was suddenly poor. So the word in the Bible should say "rented". "Rent" is the present-tense verb.
Anyway, then he was sick, and so he had to go and rent new robes because he was so poor he just couldn't afford to actually buy them. And because he didn't have a house, he just lived in the ashes of his house.
Then his vertically-challenged friends, Elephant the Termite, Billy the Shoe-height, and Zoltar the Mini-mite came to visit him, having heard of his great tragedy. And they understood SOLIDARITY, let me tell you! They were so Church with Job that they went out and rented robes, too! And then they sat with him for 7 days!
That's because they knew that it was so important to give preferential treatment to their poor friend Job, who apparently didn't have a job anymore so he was destitute.
So, basically, the lesson for today was that if we see people suffering, it's meaningless to talk to them because words are cheap. It's better to suffer in the same way they are. So, for example, if your friend loses his house due to a fire from a lightening strike, then you should start an electrical fire of some sort at your home and just let it all burn down. That way you can be Church with your friend.
And if your friend has to rent clothing, you should do the same thing.
Or, say, if you're a doctor, the same thing applies. If someone comes to you with a broken bone, you have to first respect where that person is at. How can you understand that person's pain if you haven't experienced it or arent' experiencing it? It's better to be in solidarity with that person, so if you can't reproduce the cause of the injury, you should at least try to find something that would be a similar injury. And that way, even when you hobble around together on crutches, you'll all be church and you'll be able to help each other out.
But there was another aspect that was discussed; Job's friends were trying to be church, but didn't really get the concept. They rented robes, but they still had their own. So we actually see later on in the next chapters that they only rented the robes because their own fine ones would have gotten dirty. And they didn't have laundry facilities like we do now so the Old Testament version of dry cleaning was just renting robes. Which isn't really very church with Job, who had none to dry clean, anyway. And I don't think he could return the ones he was wearing. But read abotu what happened to him and you'll undestand. It doesn't say whether Elephant, Zoltan, or Billy gave him their rented robes when his own wore out or not. So we can actually have a discussion on that next week after the fall bonfire in the labyrinth.